After missing just one or two paychecks, we heard so many heart-breaking stories from government workers who weren’t being paid or were furloughed. The key is to get started building your emergency fund today — before you need it.
Audit your credit card and checking account statements for the last three months to weed out charges for services you rarely use or don’t need.
Get clear on the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ and put the brakes on impulse buying. One way to do this: wait at least 24 hours before buying anything that is not a necessity, and at least seven days before making any large purchase. Another is to try paying with cash for one month (studies show you’ll spend 20 percent less on average).
Take a hard look at your daily habits. Grabbing lunch at fast-food or other restaurant adds up. So does buying that $5 (plus tip) Starbucks coffee every day. Have trouble letting go of such expenses? Consider the reasons you need a healthy rainy day fund. If you don’t have a sizeable emergency fund, you can’t afford it.
Beware of ‘Parkinson’s Law,’ which warns that ‘expenses rise to equal income,’ to avoid spending all the money you’ll be saving.”